Making Decisions, for Fun & Profit

It gets easier for us to do nothing all the time.

Opting out used to be much more difficult. We were only expected to make a meaningful decision every few days at most, because most decisions had usually already been made for us. Our education, family background or income determined how we lived and what real choices we had about what to do or how to act.

Moving to a new house or job. Getting married or divorced. Choosing a school for our kids or a political party to support.

Back then, whenever we had to make a decision more people noticed and cared. Their own decisions often depended on what we were doing. And when a letter could take a week or more to reach someone else’s mailbox, and long distance phone calls were prohibitively expensive, we had much more time to gather facts and weigh possible courses of action.

But now, many big decisions must be made in a matter of seconds. We almost never have time to collect reliable information, much less talk it over with family or trusted advisors. Within just the last few years search engines have become decision engines. We can narrow our choices down to a couple of products or companies before we finish reading the first page of search results. We can even share news about our personal relationships with a digital “It’s complicated.”

Our friends and family feel pressured to make decisions at a supersonic clip almost every hour, too. They’re much less likely to notice what we decide–or if we’ve decided not to make a decision.

In this environment, it’s easy to find people telling us what we should do. Complete strangers urge us to confirm our instant decision by sending them some hard-earned money, without taking time to carefully consider alternatives.

“Decision fatigue” is even described in mainstream media as a prevalent social problem, which leads us to make big decisions without any due diligence, or even a second opinion.

We each need a place to get thoughtful, dependable advice from successful and caring people. Where we can make important decisions about what to do when we’re ready. It might be the last place you’d look. It’s definitely worth looking for.

Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Making Decisions, for Fun & Profit

  1. Jarom says:

    How do you go about finding successful and caring people who will give you dependable advice, Carey? Do you have a method for identifying them and approaching them?

    • Carey says:

      That’s the million-dollar question, Jarom. Thanks for asking. There’s no quick and easy way, of course, because we aren’t machines. My “critical thinking” approach would begin with an assessment of someone’s potential as an advisor or member of your community, using recommendations or common friends if possible. Once you’ve identified someone who may fit in your “tribe” or group, ask him or her a few questions to help you clarify how well you might work together. Of course, it’s important to discover what they do and how they do it, but even more important is why they do it well. This matching process is much easier if you’re done a self-awareness exercise like my “Mantra” process; then you can ask less superficial questions and make better judgement calls when it’s time to do that.

      Hopefully you already have some people who are willing to include your “prospect” in planning some shared task or project. After you and your established team have brainstormed with the new person, you can tell if the chemistry is right, how much real value he or she brings to the task at hand, and how well they function within your team/tribe’s culture.

      This may sound pretty labor intensive and time-consuming, but we’re talking about building a community, after all, not a widget. And there are important side benefits: you and your team will get extra practice recruiting and evaluating new members, for example–a critical activity for any growing team–and will be better prepared to assess future team candidates.

      When your group gets big enough and your communications are humming along, you can gradually “cast the net” more widely and speed up your growth process.

      Hope that answers your excellent question. Thanks for asking it!

  2. Love your site! I will definetly be checking another time. Look forward to more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *